According to the BBC and The Guardian today, a UK-based report has claimed that as much as half of the world’s food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up being thrown away. This is an appalling waste of resources both from both a nutrition and financial point of view given the current economic climate.
In our house we waste as little as possible. Peelings go in to compost, we readily use leftovers for lunches or for dinner the following night. We only buy what we need and make sure that if we have excess food it is stored correctly and labelled properly then used so that it is not languishing in the freezer, fridge or cupboards.
I was astounded at the amount of food that Food Cycle was able to utilise when I volunteered there on a Saturday morning, which you can read about here. There was plenty more available but they could not use it all, or transport it all.
Check out website such as Love Food Hate Waste for tips on how to reduce food waste and ways to use up leftovers.
My tips for cutting down on food waste
Keep your fridge clean uncluttered. This will mean that there shouldn't be food hidden and forgotten. Put those foods that need using up first at the front of shelves to remind you to eat them.
Meal Plan. Plan your meals around what you have on hand and then only buy what you need. This will cut down on waste as you should be able to use up what you have if you have planned well. I have mentioned my Meal Planning Tips here.
Keep some "Use It All Up" recipes handy. Smoothies, crumbles, soups and stews are tasty ways to utilise all sorts of ingredients you may have languishing in the fridge, fruit bowl or vegetable drawer.
Only dish up what you need, control portion sizes. Why not serve smaller servings then if you eat it all have seconds. If you serve up too much it will probably be wasted instead of being used as leftovers for another meal.
Modify your shopping habits. The potential for food waste begins the second we buy the food. Don't be taken in by bulk offers on food you may not use all of. Think to yourself "Will I be able to use this before it goes out of date?"
Less than perfect food is still fine to use. You can stir-fry wilted greens and they will still taste fine. You can cut a bad spot off fruit or vegetables and still cook the rest. Please use common sense and be mindful of food safety though.
Share resources. If you have too much/many of something why not swap with a friend or if you have cooked too much and cannot store it why not donate it to a friend for their dinner or lunch. Encourage dinner guests to take leftovers home to use for lunch or another meal. I regularly take baking to friends, the school staff room and Church to ensure none gets wasted. I also freeze baking in portions suitable for school lunches so there is no wastage there either.
What are your top tips for cutting down on food waste?